Jump to content

Letter to theaters about dropping film projection


Vincent Sweeney
 Share

Recommended Posts

The death of 35mm:

 

2015 - The death of film...

 

Personally I don't think, 35mm or film will be dead by 2015. What they are talking about is more like the death of cinema.

I do think at some point there may be a big revival in 16mm as people try to get away from the nasty high-res digital look but I think we are a way away from that stage yet. Maybe that will be in 2015/2016 etc.

 

love

 

Freya

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting to note that News corp are implicated in both these articles, so it would appear that news corp is the driving force for the destruction of cinema presently.

 

I especially like the sort of threatening tone shrouded in fake friendlyness of the letter at the start of this thread. Sort of "you WILL comply or we will make things very difficult for you!"

 

Theres something very news corp about that! :)

 

Kinda entertaining stuff.

 

love

 

Freya

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On a related note, I love this:

 

But the activism-inspiring parts of the film could have wound up on the cutting room floor. When bigwigs at Fox first read the script, they were surprised at the scenes likely to stoke environmentalist fervor, since Cameron had not prepared them for those themes.

 

"When they read it, they sort of said, 'Can we take some of this tree-hugging, "FernGully" crap out of this movie?'" Cameron dishes. "And I said, 'No, because that's why I'm making the film.'"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, this whole switch to digital projection is, frankly, tragic.

 

It is going to forever change what it means to go to the movies and for those of us who know and have known the experience of real projected film, it will never be the same. And the worst part is that the latest generation of moviegoers, and those that follow, will never know the difference and the truly magic quality of projected film.

 

Why should anyone ever go the movies again? If I can get the same cold, dull, empty experience with a blu-ray on a big screen in my living room, why go pay that kind of money and deal with all of the hassle? The real justice would be if this actual destroys their business because people finally figure this out. I'd be laughing my a** off.

 

Tim

Edited by Tim Halloran
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The idiots theaters cannot even figure out how to project aspect ratios properly on these digital screens. In NYC many screens are 2.35:1, as they should be, but 2.35:1 films DO NOT take up that ratio. They are projected inside the 1.78:1 ratio, in essence, windowboxed projection. This is done because they cannot figure out how to switch back and forth between 1.78:1 and 2.35:1.

 

Earlier this year I had it out with a 'manager' who finally admitted, after 15 minutes of debate, that they simply find it too difficult to make the switch so the screens are stuck as they are.

 

Not to mention that 2D films are projected via 3D setups, reducing light output by 60 to 80 percent!

 

I haven't been to the movies in a while. I am just sick and tired of pay good money for a ****ed up presentation. How I miss 35mm film projection.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting to note that News corp are implicated in both these articles, so it would appear that news corp is the driving force for the destruction of cinema presently.

 

Not just the destruction of cinema. Personally I think Rupert Murdoch has done more to generally degrade humanity than almost anyone in history. Much more subtle than the usual suspects, but just as effective. I just hope he and his empire are exposed and overthrown as quickly as possible, for all our sakes.

 

And if you think I'm being extreme, look into it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member

A little perspective would help here I suspect.

 

The "magic quality of projected film" invariably means something that's at least slightly flickery, a bit unsteady, and riven with noise, sorry, grain. With depressing regularity it also means dirt and scratches, as well as a noticeable jump and flicker and a pop on the soundtrack every nineteen minutes or so. Digital projection, even done quite badly, is objectively better than 35mm projection on several key points of technical ability, and it's probably capable of higher resolution than a traditional film finish even at 2K. Much as I appreciate and understand the nostalgia for the process, I don't think it's particularly controversial to point out that it has been exceeded on more or less every technical level. And it's massively cheaper, and easier to run, and lighter to carry around. The war is over.

 

That said, I too grind my teeth at the way it's so often being done. I've mentioned before that the Odeon Digital logo at my local super-expensive megaplex with the sitting-room-sized screens is supposed to be on a white background, but at least two of the eight screens have such grossly misaligned lamphouses that the ideally white field comes out as a screen full of pink and green blotches. It looks like a badly tie-dyed T-shirt, it's appalling. Now, it's worth mentioning that this is a problem that could - and did - often befall 35 as well, and from what I've seen they're at least capable of winding the masking out and selecting the right optics for the right screen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The "magic quality of projected film" invariably means something that's at least slightly flickery, a bit unsteady, and riven with noise, sorry, grain. With depressing regularity it also means dirt and scratches, as well as a noticeable jump and flicker and a pop on the soundtrack every nineteen minutes or so. Digital projection, even done quite badly, is objectively better than 35mm projection on several key points of technical ability, and it's probably capable of higher resolution than a traditional film finish even at 2K. Much as I appreciate and understand the nostalgia for the process, I don't think it's particularly controversial to point out that it has been exceeded on more or less every technical level. And it's massively cheaper, and easier to run, and lighter to carry around. The war is over.

=

 

With worldwide block releases I haven't seen the dirt and scratches on film prints, at least in multiplexes and the grain has been a low levels for many years. I could understand this if we were discussing an Artificial Eye art house film that has scratches around the reel change overs, but for mainstream films that I've seen the quality has usually been pretty good in this regard.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The conversion craze reminds me of an article that I once read in Film- und TV-Kameramann a couple of years ago, a German magazine. Its title was Vom Kratzen, it is about how we hear and listen. A wonderful text

 

As many of us will agree upon, binary-numeric imagery is free from dirt and wiggling. Itʼs an illusion of the abstract or ideal impression or, more exactly, the idealised interpretation of actions. Since life is not ideal, Shylock tells us, there will never be a real threat to anything from them. Digital is the completely wrong word, because the Latin word digitus means finger. Whatʼs called digital should be called mental. First thought, then electrified.

 

May cinema go down the drain, film will remain alive, all the handicraft around it, all its uncalculable, explosive, risky, hazardous, dangerous, inflammable, intoxicating, subversive soul of imponderabilities. From there, cinema may be reborn again and again. Everything binary is so dead boring or will be just so boring in, say, 412 years. Donʼt you worry.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Digital projection, even done quite badly, is objectively better than 35mm projection on several key points of technical ability, and it's probably capable of higher resolution than a traditional film finish even at 2K. Much as I appreciate and understand the nostalgia for the process, I don't think it's particularly controversial to point out that it has been exceeded on more or less every technical level...

 

If that is your only criteria for assigning value then, okay, you win. But this completely ignores the unique quality of the experience of film viewing vs. watching digital projection. The simple truth is that one (film) requires a more active engagement of the body and mind and one (digital) is experienced in a much more passive manner. Watching film requires that you physically and cognitively process alternating individual images and darkness while digital projection is a solid stream of variable light. You can see how one requires more work on the part of the spectator and thus can be said to provide a more "engaged" and ultimately more satisfying experience.

 

EVERY person who I have spoke to who has reflected on the difference between their experience watching movies projected on film and digital projection (both "nostalgic" recollections and back-to-back comparisons) have said that the digital experience is relatively more "cold," "empty," and "unsatisfying." We seem to have accepted this argument by audiophiles who have argued for decades about the qualitative differences between analog and digital recorded playback. Why are so many people unwilling to recognize and acknowledge this same parallel distinction when talking about cinema? Too dazzled by the blockbuster spectacle, I suppose, to reflect on the evidence of their own experiences. But again, the tragedy is ultiamtely being perpetrated on those who will never know the difference.

 

Tim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The real issue is that without being able to sell hundreds of millions of feet of print stock every year, Kodak (and to a lesser extent, Fuji) are going to find it increasingly hard to turn a profit in their Motion picture divisions. That's inevitably going to lead to less R&D, rising costs, and then perhaps the moment when they decide it's just not worth the bother any more

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member

The fact is, is that it's happening anyway. Why argue about it? This has all been recently discussed on here to death, by the way.

 

And to repeat a great point: Short of the Landmark and Arclight theaters near me, I see no other theaters in the area able to properly project film anymore, anyway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The fact is, is that it's happening anyway. Why argue about it? This has all been recently discussed on here to death, by the way.

 

And to repeat a great point: Short of the Landmark and Arclight theaters near me, I see no other theaters in the area able to properly project film anymore, anyway.

 

Yeah, why discuss anything anyway? And who cares if it has been discussed already? We're having another discussion here, now. You worried about bandwidth usage or something?

 

But I'll bite--why continue to talk about it? Because, maybe we can wake some people up to what is happening and possibly, just possibly, change the course of the "inevitable." Alternatively, this on-going discussion may inspire some to rethink the possible and consider setting up some more local theaters that will carry on projecting film.

 

So you can more easily find theaters in your area that are able to properly project film. Then again, you should probably just give up.

 

Tim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
But this completely ignores the unique quality of the experience

of film viewing vs. watching digital projection. The simple truth is that one (film) requires a more active engagement of the body and mind and one (digital) is experienced in a much more passive manner.

Sorry, this just comes off as semi-mystic magic hand waving to me. I don't think it's supported by the science or by what people have actually tried to do. For years, nay decades, grain was seen as a problem, flicker and poor motion rendering were seen as a problem - hence development efforts to minimise grain, showscan, 65mm origination, etc. Then suddenly the entire concept of photochemical imaging is under threat and all these things immediately stop being problems and start being part of some sort of religious experience? Bah, make your mind up. If all this was the case, people would still be shooting on orthochromatic black-and-white stock on hand-cranked cameras.

Obviously what Stuart says is also true, and photochemical origination is likely to go the way of the dodo shortly after distribution. Hopefully we'll have finally fixed this whole dynamic range issue before that happens.

P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member

If all this was the case, people would still be shooting on orthochromatic black-and-white stock on hand-cranked cameras.

Obviously what Stuart says is also true, and photochemical origination is likely to go the way of the dodo shortly after distribution. Hopefully we'll have finally fixed this whole dynamic range issue before that happens.

 

Hmmm.... Does the progression go from mainstream to extinction, or mainstream to niche?

 

Hand crank cameras still exist, and with heavy cyan filtration on B&W film, the ortho look could be recreated. It'll never be mainstream again, but if somebody wanted the look the could get it.

 

Arri's Alexa has nailed the dynamic range issue. Perhaps Red Epic, too, though I haven't personally had a show on it.

 

The general trend seems to be for new technologies to push their predecessors into high end niches.

 

 

Photography didn't kill painting and drawing. It brought portraiture to the masses, with painted portraits the province of the rich.

 

Digital wristwatches brought accurate time to everybody, but Patek Phillipe and Rolex are doing quite well in the high end.

 

You can be playing a digital keyboard for well under a grand, but Steinway, Boesendorfer, and Stuart & Sons are alive and well for those who have a few hundred grand to spend.

 

Film killed vaudeville, the top stars like Charlie Chaplin went into film. But you can still see live plays and operas, they just cost more than movies.

 

 

Coating B&W film is certainly in the range of possibility for a niche market. Color as we've known it perhaps less so, but maybe a variation on the Lumiere Autochrome process....?

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member

What worries me about it is just the sheer scale of the industrial plant required to create and process colour negative - it's hardly a trivial thing. It can't really be done on a small scale without an outrageous pricing model - I don't think those factors apply to things like pianos.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member

What worries me about it is just the sheer scale of the industrial plant required to create and process colour negative - it's hardly a trivial thing. It can't really be done on a small scale without an outrageous pricing model - I don't think those factors apply to things like pianos.

 

Yes, that's why I'm thinking some kind of variation on the Autochrome process, which only needs B&W chemistry.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What worries me about it is just the sheer scale of the industrial plant required to create and process colour negative - it's hardly a trivial thing. It can't really be done on a small scale without an outrageous pricing model - I don't think those factors apply to things like pianos.

 

It's not just the cost of neg, it's the continuing erosion of the Laboratory and Telecine facility network. Labs seem to shut down or 'diversify' will alarming regularity, and how long will new telecine technology continue to be developed?

 

I see film becoming a boutique item, possibly special order, definitely expensive, and with virtually no affordable support for processing and TK.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't count the lab industry out yet, thank you very much. . .

 

 

 

As for all of this doom and gloom (the big release printing labs do such a poop job with color consistency it's like they want their business to die, the rest of us just try to eek by and do a quality job every time without 100 personnel and 25 machines and three shifts), I think I either need to take a break from this site or we need to bring back the film versus digital drinking game for threads like these.

 

 

Can anyone find me that thread, with the rules for the game? I think dearly departed Annie Wengenroth came up with this gem.

 

 

 

 

In seriousness, I find it really annoying that people who have never dunked a roll of film in a tank in high school are on here preaching this and that. Can we please cut out the anecdotal information and third-hand accounts?

 

If you don't work in a lab, or heard it while you were dropping off 8,000 feet of 16 or 35 AT the lab where you heard something, you're certainly not helping us out by spreading a bunch of anecdotal misinformation.

 

 

Yes volume is dropping, but there is plenty of work out there, enough for labs to specialize in soundtracks, release printing, student films, archiving etc. There are still labs running VNF occasionally, and it was discontinued 7 years ago. . .

 

 

 

I'd be happy to bet a thousand dollars that we will be happily churning out Eastman Color Print ten years from now, let alone four. (though it may have a Japanese replacement name and not be coming from Rochester if a certain company their can't balance its budget and quit hemorrhaging money on failed digital ventures). It will probably go the way of vinyl and arthouses, but color film has got a good ten years left in the mainstream, at the least.

 

 

Alexa this, Red epic that, I'm sorry a lot of the people here are working for peanuts and in low-end markets. If they can shoot 35mm on television and shoot images of friggin' pizzas on 16mm film all day every day, I think we'll hold on just fine.

 

 

If you're in a podunk, 2nd or 3rd class city without an international airport let alone an arts and media infrastructure, no you probably won't be working with film. Film gets more and more specialized and localized as it consolidates, but there is a very solid base out there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

Forum Sponsors

Visual Products

DMX-iT

FJS International

Film Gears

CineLab

Wooden Camera

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Serious Gear

Metropolis Post

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment

Cinematography Books and Gear



×
×
  • Create New...